LOS ANGELES – Ronald Jones II rushed for 194 yards and three touchdowns, and Southern California overcame a big second-half rally led by Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate for a 49-35 victory over the Wildcats late Saturday night.
Sam Darnold passed for 311 yards and two TDs for the Trojans (8-2, 6-1 Pac-12), who led 28-6 midway through the third quarter before Tate finally got the Wildcats (6-3, 4-2) rolling. Arizona scored 29 points in about 11 minutes, tying it at 35 on Zach Green’s TD run and a 2-point conversion with 8:23 to play.
But Jones racked up 96 yards in the fourth quarter and scored the tiebreaking touchdown with 5:37 to play. He added another score with 3:09 left as the Trojans pulled away.
USC is alone atop the Pac-12 South after its 15th consecutive victory at the Coliseum. One victory in the Trojans’ final two games against Colorado and UCLA will put them in the conference title game next month.
Tate, an Inglewood native and high school classmate of several Trojans, rushed for 161 yards and passed for 146 yards and two TDs. After being bottled up in the first half, he rushed for a 32-yard TD and threw a 30-yard scoring pass in the third quarter.
But Tate was sacked five times, and he threw two fourth-quarter interceptions – to USC’s Ajene Harris and John Houston – as the Wildcats’ four-game winning streak ended.